The back of a napkin

It’s 3 weeks until NECC. I’ve never been and am eagerly awaiting. David Jakes has invited me to help him present his session on 10 strategies for improving presentations.

As David and I held a little planning session tonight we talked about the power and importance of visual literacy. We also agreed that while PowerPoint may be the tool we focus on, it’s really not about PowerPoint but the ability to communicate a message effectively with the support of well designed visuals.

This video promoting a book called The Back of a Napkin, demonstrates how ideas can always be enhanced and developed using simple visuals.

Many of these principles are transferable whether you’re using a napkin or a slide deck. If you’re attending NECC, we’d love to have you pop by Monday, June 30th at 11:00. David plans to take everyone who attends out for supper that evening. … Read the rest

Lesson #1 Share…The Presentation

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:16 pm

I talked about this presentation back in January and had the opportunity to share it last week in Saskatoon. I had many nice comments about this and hope it challenges people. I didn’t record it so sat down and rattled off a 23 minute presentation based on my slide deck.

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Better to be entertaining and uninformed than informed and boring

This post was last updated on April 14th, 2016 at 02:17 pm

“An uniformed opinion expressed entertainingly trumps an informed opinion expressed boringly every time.” Linwood Barclay

So I think information and ideas can fall inside this quadrant I created.


Obviously we should be aiming for the top left but I’m guessing the bottom left has more influence that the top right. (Think Fox News, or most of what you find on Youtube and the internet in general, and also see Andrew Keen). It once again falls into the long line of topics relegated to the “it is what it is” category.

I think being entertaining often gets a bad rap. We often see it a less academic or somehow a dumbing down of important and serious thought. Entertainment does not have to be synonymous with fluff. On one hand we try and make learning more engaging for our students and at the same time guard against the pointless drivel of the much of today’s content. Surely this will be an ongoing struggle.

I’m advocating for entertaining, or at least interesting (I haven’t decided yet if these are the same). I heard Gar Reynolds once say that … Read the rest

My first crack at Keynote and Pecha Kucha

This post was last updated on September 27th, 2011 at 10:16 am

I’ve been interested in the Pecha Kucha format of presentation for a while but hadn’t had the opportunity to try it out. I’m going to have my students from my undergrad class give it a shot as they summarize their experience in this class. The format is designed to provide a concise way to include many presentations in the course of one sitting. (Think about watching 15 incredibly bad Grade 6 PPT’s on their favorite country and you see why we need this)

The pure model is the 20×20 format. 20 slides for 20 seconds for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. This has become a fairly common business model. The fact that Dan Pink himself has considered this, lets you know the value of its format.

I’ve modified the format to a 20×9 format so each presentation is 3 minutes.

This was also an opportunity for me to explore Keynote a bit more. While still seeing only a few features that separate it from PowerPoint, I did like the record feature that allowed me to make a quicktime movie. I then uploaded it to youtube. … Read the rest

Enabling a radical

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:17 pm

Clay Burell is a man of action. I’d call him a radical. More than just about any teacher I’ve connected with recently, he thinks out loud, shares everything and then does stuff.

Clay’s been exploring “unschooliness” for a while and has taken me along for the ride. When he posted his quick chat with Chris Craft, it immediately resonated with me. “Quick in, Quick out” (this is one of many catch phrases Clay is responsible for). While I totally admire the work of projects like the flatclassroom, liferoundhere, 1000tales and such, I know the work involved and I also know that my personal network does not revolve around a project; it just revolves around learning…and socializing. Clay isn’t someone willing to think about this, he attempts to make this a reality in his classroom. I’m all ears and eyes.

So although Clay resides in Korea, he keeps some odd hours as do I so we are able to quite easily connect and on this occasion he did tell me he was recording but I soon forgot that and hopefully didn’t say anything too silly but … Read the rest